OSCON Day 1

Well, it’s day one here in OSCON. I’m pretty much just going around by myself here. Had some interesting conversations with people about various topics. Mostly I’ve been looking to see who is running what on their laptops. By in large, I’ve seen GNOME/OSX/XP for desktops with powerbooks dominating. Every Unix desktop I’ve seen was running GNOME.

Overall it seems that OSX is the most popular. I”ve been thinking of asking people who are running GNOME what they think of it just to gauge people’s reactions. The one person I asked complained that we change things too much. He specifically mentioned the file dialog box where the text entry was removed and he couldn’t figure out quite how to type in a directory. There is some validity in that there is no visual cue on how to do so although once you try typing something a text entry widget does show up. He wanted some kind of on-line documentation thing that says “this was the old behavior, this is the new” and be able to select which behavior.

So his complaint is mostly about being forced to change a work model without any support of the previous model and not being able to go back to it. Unfortunately, usability is still work in progress for us IMHO and these changes will happen as we try to improve usability. But we need to tightly control these changes otherwise we will make people unhappy because we force them to change their ways. That’s not their idea of “user friendly”.

I also wandered around the bookstore and felt kind of depressed with the amount of books on UNIX desktops and how much space they don’t give to GNOME. The other desktop seems a lot more comfortable for them to use. Because of the coverage it also makes the other desktop a lot more exciting to use with all the coverage it gets. Consequently, the users we want to reach those non technical people end up reading more about KDE than GNOME when they do their research or talk to their local techie. How ironic.

BTW there was our GNOME Development book but unfortunately it’s already out of date. It needs updating. :-)

I feel obligated now to talk people’s ear off about 2.14 at the booth starting Wednesday. Party on!

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